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Colurful native plants blossoming at UCSB lagoon island

The UC Santa Barbara Lagoon Island is a canvas of floral color this time of year mainly because of efforts that took place with a fire there in 2016. The project is planned, coordinated and monitored by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department about every two years. Since 2007, The UCSB Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration has been working with fire in the area to destroy bad grasses, weeds and invasive species along with their seeds. The heat goes down to the soil and in some cases a subsurface area to destroy the bad seeds. The goal is to rid the area of 100 percent non native grasses and weeds. The area is a living lab for students. It’s been a project that has involved the changing look of different smaller sections of the lagoon land with a major restoration about every two years. Restoration ecologist Lauren Dykeman say she took a picture a couple of weeks ago as the bloom began. She said the “entire field was a carpet of purple.” For some of the plants, the staff and students will collect them in a few weeks, dry them and collect large quantities of seeds for future sites. As this site comes alive, work is underway at other campus locations. One focused effort is at the location of the old Ocean Meadows Golf Course off Storke Road, where native plants and wetlands are returning.

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